The Apia Sydney International tournament is an ATP 250 and a WTA Premier event held immediately prior to the Australian Open. It is one of the oldest tournaments in tennis’ history dating back to 1885.
The most titles won by men at Sydney are John Bromwich and Jack Crawford (7 titles each). Margaret Court has won a record 8 titles which is the highest in women singles and overall.
1885 – 1934
In 1885 Australia was under the colonial system. The officials had to form an Australasian team for the Davis Cup team. They decided to organize an event that would select the best tennis player from different colonies. The event thereby formed was known as Championship of New South Wales.
The inaugral event was won by William J. Bush Salmon in the men’s singles and Annie Lamb in the women’s singles.
The initial events were held at SCG (till 1907), Double Bay (till 1921) and White City Stadium(till 1999). In 1900, Horace Rice became the first player to win a men’s singles title in the 20th century.
1935 – 1999
In 1935, the tournament was first time played as a permanent annual event. The tournament was played at White City Stadium, which was specially played for hosting the NSW championship. This new venue had 16 grass courts, 6 synthetic grass courts and 8 Rebound Ace courts. Quite evidently, the tournament was played on outdoor grass courts.
In 1989, the tournament shifted from outdoor grass courts to outdoor hard courts. The first winner on the outdoor hard court in men’s singles was Aaron Krickstein and in women’s singles it was Martina Navratilova.
In 1970, the event was a part of the Grand Prix Championship series and later was a part if the Grand Prix Tour till 1989. Later, till 1997 it was a part of the ATP World Series. It got promoted to the ATP International series in 1998 and stayed at that tier till 2008. When the rebranding of ATP took place in 2009, it was given a spot as an ATP 250 event.
For the ladies, it had been a part of the WTA Tier III and Tier II series before becoming a part of the WTA Premier tournaments in 2009.
2000 – 2017
The New South Wales Tennis Centre was established in 1999. Since 2000, it is home to the Sydney International tournament. The centre court at the NSW tennis centre is known as Ken Rosewall Arena in honor of the multiple time grand slam champion.
It has a seating capacity of 10,000 people. There are two more courts having a capacity of 4,000 and 2,000 each. Seven other subsidiary courts and six practice courts complete the tennis centre.
In 2017, Gilles Muller won his first tour level title at Sydney. Johanna Konta of Great Britain is the defending champion in the women’s singles category.
Venus Williams will make her appearance at the Sydney International after 17 years. Garbine Muguruza has accepted the wild card at Sydney. Johanna Konta, who retired at Brisbane due to injury will try to defend her title. The 125th edition of the event will begin on 7th January with the finals being scheduled on 13th January.